UCLA softball blasts Long Beach State in NCAA regional opener

First, it was Briana Perez. Then it was Rachel Garcia. Then another from Delanie Wisz. Home runs were contagious on Friday evening, with the UCLA softball team hitting three on consecutive at-bats.

“We all kind of have this inside joke between all of us that whoever is leading, it’s not going to be a lead for long,” Wisz said. “So we all kind of just joke with each other in the dugout about the team leader in home runs, but we don’t really care who’s the leader as long as we’re all just getting it done.”

The three straight homers accounted for five runs and powered the Bruins, the No. 2 national seed, to an 8-0 run-rule victory over Long Beach State in five innings at the four-team NCAA Los Angeles Regional.

UCLA (42-4), the Pac-12 champion, gave pitcher Megan Faraimo far more support than she required. Armed, superstitiously, with watermelon gum and Aquaphor chapstick in her back pocket, Faraimo had 11 strikeouts and held Long Beach to two hits in five innings.

“I do try to tell myself when I’m on the mound that it’s a 0-0 ball game so that I’m competing just as hard,” said Faraimo, who pitched with a lead from the second inning on. “Just trying to get my team back in the dugout so they can keep scoring runs.”

Wisz (2 for 3, two RBIs), who caught Faraimo, added her second home run of the game in the fourth inning to cap the scoring.

Two innings earlier, Perez, who finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs, started the onslaught with a three-run homer that extended the lead to 5-0.

“I love watching Bri settle in,” UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “That’s as good as it gets, hitting the ball dead center as hard as she did. I think it’s the start of things to come, but her experience is definitely kicking in. She was able to slow it down and just do what Bri has been doing all season for us.”

UCLA scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on just one hit. Aaliyah Jordan was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a Perez single and scored when Garcia reached on a fielder’s choice, as LBSU committed an error. One out later, a walk to Maya Brady loaded the bases, and one more out later, a free pass to junior Kinsley Washington brought in Perez to make it 2-0.

Long Beach State (30-10) struggled to find its stride, with Rylie Seip and Emily Salazar collecting the only hits for the Big West Conference champs. Kellie White, recently named to the NFCA All-West Region third team, pitched one inning, then Samantha Fowler took over for the remaining three.

“That’s not the way we want to start off the tournament,” LBSU coach Kim Sowder said. “Just got off to a rough start in the first inning, and just had a little bit of control problems in the circle. It’s just so important at this point in the season to be working ahead in the count against a powerful lineup.”

A powerful lineup that jokes about leading in home runs. For the record, it’s Wisz with 14. Perez and Garcia have 12 each.

UCLA will face Fresno State (37-10) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., while LBSU will face Minnesota (29-12) at 4 p.m. in an elimination game. The winner of the Long Beach-Minnesota game will meet the UCLA-Fresno State loser in another elimination game Saturday night.

Fresno State 3, Minnesota 0: Fresno State scored two runs in the sixth inning and tacked on another in the seventh to beat Minnesota in Friday’s early game at Easton Stadium.

Hailey Dolcini pitched seven innings for the Bulldogs, giving up two hits and striking out 13 batters. Schuylar Broussard went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Keahilele Mattson was 2 for 4 with one RBI.

For the Gophers, Eilee Jensen went 1 for 3 and Makenna Partain was 1 for 2.

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UCSB eliminates Long Beach State in Big West volleyball semifinals

HONOLULU, Hawaii — There will not be a third consecutive national championship for the Long Beach State men’s volleyball program.

Second-seeded UC Santa Barbara defeated third-seeded Long Beach in four sets in a Big West Conference semifinal on Friday night, 16-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-15. Long Beach (7-5), which won the 2018 and 2019 national titles before the 2020 season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, will not receive one of the two at-large berths in the seven-team NCAA Championships, which will be held May 3-8 at Ohio State.

Long Beach dominated for much of the first set, opening an 18-9 lead before closing it out at 25-16, but its offense fell apart from there. Much like the first set, there were few lead changes in the second as UCSB (14-4) got ahead early and stretched its lead to 22-14 at one point while holding LBSU to a match-low .029 hitting percentage on its way to a dominant 25-17 win.

Long Beach never found its first-set groove again. After hitting a sizzling .500 in the opening set, LBSU followed its second-set struggles by hitting .281 in the third and a dismal .129 in the fourth. Meanwhile, UCSB hit a match-best .519 with 15 kills in the third set, before posting 10 more in the last set.

Ryan Wilcox paced the Gauchos with 16 kills and three aces on a .324 hitting percentage, while Ryan Pecsok had a career-high 17 digs. Randy DeWesse added 12 kills and Donovan Todorov led the team with six block assists.

Spencer Olivier paced LBSU with 18 kills and hit .448, while Aidan Knipe had 38 assists. Simon Andersen had five blocks and Mason Briggs had 14 digs.

UCSB will meet unbeaten top seed Hawaii or fourth-seeded UC San Diego in Saturday’s title match. The host Warriors and the Tritons were headed to a fifth set late Friday night in the second semifinal.

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Long Beach State sweeps UC Irvine to reach Big West volleyball semis

HONOLULU, Hawaii — The third-seeded Long Beach State men’s volleyball team swept sixth-seeded UC Irvine, 25-22, 25-19, 25-21, in a quarterfinal of the Big West Conference Tournament on Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Long Beach (7-4) advances to the semifinals, where it will face No. 2 seed UC Santa Barbara (13-4) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. PT. LBSU and UCSB split their two regular-season matches, each winning in four sets on their home courts on consecutive days last month.

Unbeaten top seed Hawaii (15-0) will meet fourth-seeded UC San Diego (4-12) in Friday’s second semifinal, with the championship match scheduled for Saturday.

LBSU hit an impressive .432 in the match, with Spencer Olivier logging 18 kills and Ethan Siegfried adding 10. Setter Aidan Knipe had 42 assists as every Long Beach player hit above .300 for the match.

Defensively, libero Mason Briggs had 10 digs, while Shane Holdaway had four blocks and Simon Andersen and Siegfried added three blocks apiece.

Opposite hitter Alexandre Nsakanda led UCI (2-14) with 11 kills, while outside hitter Joel Schneidmiller added seven kills and three digs. Setter Dylan Zhai had 21 assists and five digs.

The teams traded points early and battled through 10 ties in the opening set before Long Beach went on a 5-0 run to open a 15-10 advantage. Long Beach never trailed again in the opening set, and took control early in an uneventful second set.

UCI took an early lead to start the third set, but Long Beach used a 3-0 run to gain a 10-9 lead and pushed the margin to 14-11 before the Anteaters rallied to tie the score at 21-all. Following a timeout, Long Beach regrouped and closed out the match on a 4-0 run.

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Long Beach State women lose heartbreaker to Cal Poly in Big West tourney

The juxtaposition of playing a great game and losing on a broken play left Long Beach State coach Jeff Cammon laughing even though he was hurting inside.

Long Beach had virtually completed a stout defensive team effort in its Big West Tournament quarterfinal against Cal Poly on Wednesday night in Las Vegas. LBSU led by one with 6.7 seconds left, drew up the proper defense for the Mustangs’ last play, then watched it all slip away at Mandalay Bay.

Cal Poly’s Abbey Ellis’ pass on the in-bounds play ricocheted off two players and rolled to the lane, where sophomore Maddie Willett, with Long Beach’s Ma’Qhi Berry bracing her on defense, tossed up a no-look, left-handed hook shot.

“At that point, it’s up to the basketball gods,” Cammon said.

And the ball swished through the basket to give sixth-seeded Cal Poly a 61-60 win and eliminate third-seeded Long Beach (12-9).

“I didn’t anticipate this ending,” Cammon said. “It’s a tough way to lose and it hurts like heck. We did a great job initially. We almost had a defensive steal, and then the ball trickles to Willow. Ma’Qhi had her sealed out.”

Cal Poly (13-10) had two options on the in-bounds play and Coach Faith Mimnaugh acknowledged that Long Beach shut off both of those options.

“We were lucky to get the ball back after the deflection,” said Mimnaugh, whose team advances to a semifinal against No. 2 seed UC Irvine on Friday at 3 p.m.

It was Long Beach’s third loss to Cal Poly this season, and LBSU was eliminated from last season’s event by the Mustangs before the rest of the tournament was canceled because of the pandemic.

Naomi Hunt led Long Beach with 14 points, King added 13 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals, Imani Lacy had 11 points and five rebounds and Berry had nine points, three rebounds and three assists.

Sierra Campisano was a one-woman show for Cal Poly, posting 30 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 3:06 left.

The Mustangs led 54-51 when she fouled out, but Kristyna Jeskeova (seven rebounds) scored inside and Hunt drove the lane for a score. That plus four free throws gave Long Beach a 60-57 lead with 48 seconds left. Two Willet free throws cut the lead to one. Berry was fouled with 6.9 seconds left but she missed both free-throw attempts, leading to the final sequence.

“We had chances to build a lead so we wouldn’t be in that type of situation,” Cammon said. “We really played well on defense but didn’t keep them off the boards as well as we wanted.”

Cal Poly had a 42-25 rebounding advantage in a game that had eight ties and 13 lead changes, neither team ever leading by more than eight points.

Long Beach, which led by that margin midway through the third quarter, only turned over the ball eight times while notching 11 steals. But LBSU also was only 10 for 27 on layup attempts. That misery was spread around, and it was an issue at times during the season.

“Our ladies are competitive, and they’re tired of just going in the right direction,” Cammon said. “But it is a process. You never stop learning life lessons. This one just hurt.”

Abbey Ellis had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for Cal Poly. Willett finished with 10 points.

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Hawaii edges Long Beach State in Big West series opener

HONOLULU, Hawaii – Chance Hunter had 23 points, nine rebounds and four steals and had a great look to be the hero for Long Beach State, but the final shot didn’t fall and Hawaii handed LBSU a 78-76 defeat late Friday night in the opener of their two-game Big West Conference series.

Long Beach (5-8 overall, 4-5 Big West) had an outstanding opportunity in the final seconds after Hawaii’s Casdon Jardine threw the ball out of bounds with seven seconds left. Long Beach set up a play for its hottest shooter in Hunter, who was open on the wing but the shot came up short and the Rainbow Warriors (9-8, 7-8 Big West) held on for the win.

LBSU opted for a smaller, four-guard starting lineup and opened a 16-5 lead in the first six minutes, pushing its lead to 16 points on a jumper from Hunter with just over six minutes left in the first half. Long Beach shot 56 percent in the first half, going 5 for 10 from 3-point range, but Hawaii settled down in the closing minutes and trimmed the margin to 39-30 by the intermission.

LBSU still shot well in the second half but Hawaii outdid them at 63 percent, including a 5-for-7 mark from beyond the arc. The Warriors took their first lead at 61-60 at the 10-minute mark, and neither team led by more than four the rest of the way.

Isaiah Washington had 17 points and a team-high four assists for Long Beach, but the senior guard battled cramps throughout and played a season-low 28 minutes. Jadon Jones added 12 points and Michael Carter III had 11.

Justin Webster had 16 points to pace Hawaii. JoVon McClanahan had 13 points, Justin Hemsley added 12 points and seven rebounds and Mate Colina had 10 points.

The teams square off again on Saturday at 7 p.m. PT.

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Long Beach State can’t match LMU’s sizzling shooting in season opener

LOS ANGELES — Long Beach State finally played its season opener on Friday night, but Joe Quintana and Loyola Marymount used a strong shooting night to hand LBSU an 85-61 nonconference loss at Gersten Pavilion.

Quintana made six 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 20 points as LMU led by as many as 20 points in the first half and controlled the game throughout. The Lions were 15 for 38 from beyond the arc (39.5 percent), outscoring the visitors 45-12 from long distance. Nine of LMU’s 15 second-half baskets were 3-pointers.

LMU outrebounded Long Beach 44-31 and had 23 assists on 30 field goals, compared to just seven assists for the visitors, who shot 19 for 59 (32.2 percent) from the floor. LMU turned its rebounding dominance into a 20-2 advantage on second-chance points.

“Defensively, we were an absolute disaster,” said LBSU coach Dan Monson, whose team had its scheduled opener at UCLA on Monday night postponed by COVID-19 test results. “We gotta go back to the drawing board a little bit. Our awareness and our attention to detail on the defensive end’s gotta really improve.”

Ivan Alipiev had 16 points (four 3-pointers) and 10 rebounds for LMU (2-2). Dameane Douglas added 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Quentin Jackson Jr. had 11 points. Eli Scott contributed six points, 11 rebounds and a team-high six assists.

Michael Carter III paced Long Beach (0-1) with 19 points. Senior transfer Isaiah Washington added 17 points, three rebounds and three assists in his LBSU debut, and Chance Hunter had 13 points despite being limited to just 22 minutes because of foul trouble. Sophomore Romelle Mansel finished with a career-high nine rebounds for Long Beach, which had six players make their debuts.

Leading 9-7, the Lions used a 12-0 run to extend the lead to 21-7, then another 10-0 stretch to push the margin to 31-11. Long Beach trailed 42-28 at halftime but got within nine early in the second half when a Trever Irish jump-shot made it 52-43.

LBSU’s Joe Hampton had picked up his fourth foul in the early minutes of the half, and Hunter joined him with his fourth with 10:38 left. The Lions responded with another barrage from the perimeter, making a 3-pointer on four consecutive possessions to open a 69-49 lead with 7:40 left.

LMU committed 19 turnovers but also blocked seven Long Beach shots. The Lions’ 15 3-pointers were their most in a game since they made 16 in a 2017 game against Pepperdine.

UP NEXT

LBSU returns to the Walter Pyramid on Sunday at 2 p.m. against Seattle. It is the team’s first home game under COVID-19 protocols.

Loyola Marymount plays at UC Santa Barbara on Monday at 5 p.m.

Postgame comments from @CoachDMonson. #GoBeach pic.twitter.com/HScF3NZCqg

— LBSU Mens Basketball (@LBSUhoops) December 5, 2020

And this season gets started! pic.twitter.com/SzC9x4v8UI

— LBSU Mens Basketball (@LBSUhoops) December 5, 2020

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UC Irvine basketball atop Big West preseason media poll

For the fourth consecutive season – and seventh in the last eight – the UC Irvine men’s basketball team is the choice to win the Big West Conference regular-season title in the preseason media poll.

UCI received 18 first-place votes from the 28-member media panel to top the annual poll with 270 points. UC Santa Barbara finished second with 254 points (nine first-place votes). The remaining first-place nod went to UC Davis, which came in third with 182 points. Hawaii placed fourth with 165 points, followed by UC Riverside in fifth (160) and Long Beach State in sixth (141). First-year Big West member Cal State Bakersfield was seventh. Cal State Northridge (102 points), Cal State Fullerton (95) and Cal Poly (54) rounded out the rest of the poll, respectively.

UC San Diego, in its inaugural season as a Big West member, has started a four-year reclassfication period from NCAA Division II to Division I. The Tritons will not be recognized in the standings, so they were not included in the poll.

UCI (21-11 overall, 13-3 Big West last season), returns 53 percent of its scoring offense and two all-conference players (junior forward Collin Welp and senior center Brad Greene). Coming off their eighth consecutive winning season and a second straight Big West regular-season title, the Anteater roster includes 13 underclassmen and five new faces.

Welp, the 2019-20 Big West Sixth Man of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection, is UCI’s top returning scorer after averaging 13 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting from the field. Last season, Welp led the team in 3-point field goal percentage (44.2 percent) and was second in rebounding (5.9 rpg). Greene averaged 9 points and a Big West-best 7.7 rebounds per game. His 1.4 blocked shots per game ranked second in the conference.

Welp and Long Beach State junior guard Chance Hunter were named to the media’s six-player preseason all-conference team.

Hunter led LBSU (11-21, 6-10 last season) in scoring (13.9 ppg) and ranked in the conference’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding (5.9 rpg), field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage (41.7 percent) last season.

UC Riverside’s Arinze Chidom, UC Davis’ Ezra Manjon and the UCSB duo of JaQuiri McLaughlin and Amadou Sow joined Welp and Hunter on the preseason all-conference team.

UCI opens the season with a neutral site game against Pepperdine on Nov. 25 at San Diego State’s Viejas Arena. The Anteaters square off with host SDSU two days later.

BIG WEST PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

1. UC Irvine (18 first-place votes) – 270

2. UC Santa Barbara (9) – 254

3. UC Davis (1) – 182

4. Hawaii – 165

5. UC Riverside – 160

6. Long Beach State – 141

7. Cal State Bakersfield – 117

8. Cal State Northridge – 102

9. Cal State Fullerton – 95

10. Cal Poly (SLO) – 54

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Colin Slater, Long Beach State end UC Irvine’s Big West winning streak

  • Long Beach State guard Chance Hunter #31 drives to the basket in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. LBSU won 63-56. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • UC Irvine center Brad Greene #55 shoots over Long Beach State center Joshua Morgan #24 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

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  • Long Beach State guard Colin Slater #14 makes a basket around UC Irvine guard Evan Leonard #14 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State center Joshua Morgan #24 blocks a shot by UC Irvine forward John Edgar Jr. #11 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State center Joshua Morgan #24 reacts after missing a dunk shot in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner tries to get his team turned around in the first half in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • UC Irvine forward Collin Welp #40 works his way around Long Beach State guard Jordan Roberts #2 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State forward Romelle Mansel #13 is pressured under the basket by UC Irvine guard Evan Leonard, left, and forward Collin Welp in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson moves his team up the court after a turnover in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State guard Chance Hunter #31 is pressured by UC Irvine defenders under his basket in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State center Trever Irish #32 shoots over UC Irvine forward Austin Johnson #13 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State guard Colin Slater #14 drives around UC Irvine guard Isaiah Lee #5 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • UC Irvine guard Evan Leonard #14 and forward Austin Johnson #13 along with Long Beach State center Trever Irish #32 watch the ball go out of bounds under the basket in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State guard Jordan Roberts #2 shoots over the block attempt of UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford #42 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State guard Chance Hunter #31 has his shot attempt knocked away by UC Irvine center Brad Greene #55 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. LBSU won 63-56. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State center Trever Irish #32 scores over UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford #42 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. LBSU won 63-56. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State center Joshua Morgan #24 has his shot blocked by UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford #42 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. LBSU won 63-56. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • UC Irvine guard Evan Leonard #14 leaps over a fallen Long Beach State forward Romelle Mansel #13 to grab a loose ball in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. LBSU won 63-56. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State guard Chance Hunter #31 has the ball stripped and stolen by UC Irvine guard Eyassu Worku #24 in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. LBSU won 63-56. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Despite being fouled, Long Beach State guard Colin Slater #14 scores as he falls away in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. LBSU won 63-56. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State forward Romelle Mansel #13 grimaces as he grabs his hamstring after being fouled in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. LBSU won 63-56. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson, left, and UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner greet before the game in Long Beach on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

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LONG BEACH — In Hollywood terms, Long Beach State’s 63-56 upset of UC Irvine on Wednesday night at the Pyramid was produced, directed by and starred point guard Colin Slater.

The junior guard had 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and no turnovers in a game that was littered with them, 16 by UCI and 15 by Long Beach.

Slater had three of the first four Long Beach baskets of the night and had a memorable series of three plays in the second half that turned a tight game into a 10-point LBSU lead and helped the hosts end the Anteaters’ 16-game winning streak in Big West Conference play (and their 14-game Big West road winning streak).

Leading 50-46, Slater slid across the lane for a short-range shot, then drove the basket and launched an off-balance one-hand shot that banked in. On the next possession, he tossed an 18-foot lob to center Josh Morgan for a thunderous dunk and 56-46 lead.

“Colin took charge down the stretch,” LBSU coach Dan Monson said, whose team improved to 7-14 overall, 2-3 in the Big West. “I told the guys that if we don’t start the game fast we’re in for a long haul, and Colin got us that start. There were crucial times throughout the game, on offense and defense, when Colin was the leader.”

Slater’s impact was thorough against a UCI team that likes to establish a rhythm. There were times when the Anteaters (11-9, 3-1) seemed frustrated with outside defense from Slater and his teammates.

“I don’t really care what (the opponent) is feeling, I’m just focusing on us and what we have to do on offense and defense,” he said. “I had to take a moment last week and check my own responsibility as a leader, and I was just focused on playing my best game.”

Slater had help. LBSU’s big men, Romelle Mansel (five points, five rebounds, two blocked shots), Morgan (seven points, six rebounds, two blocks) and Trever Irish (eight points) were active inside against UCI’s fleet of big men. Chance Hunter added 11 points for LBSU, which shot 46.2 percent from the field (24 for 52).

UCI shot a season-low 33.9 percent from the field and lost the rebounding battle (39-28) for the second consecutive game. Evan Leonard had 14 points and Tommy Rutherford and John Edgar Jr. had 10 each. Eyassu Worku was 2-for-10 shooting and leading scorer Collin Welp (14 ppg) was held to two points on 1-for-10 shooting, though he did add team-highs of eight rebounds and five assists.

UCI had not lost a Big West game since Jan. 16, 2019 (to Long Beach) and had not dropped a Big West road game since Jan. 20, 2018 (at UC Santa Barbara).

“Credit to Long Beach,” UCI coach Russ Turner said. “They outplayed us and intimidated us and played harder on the glass.”

UCI did have a lot of shots that rimmed out, but the Anteaters were just 5 for 26 from 3-point range (19 percent) and lost the battle for loose balls.

“We have been shockingly inconsistent at times this year,” Turner added. “We have to be better.”

“We’re a team that’s struggled on offense,” Monson said of his team. “UC Irvine is the gold standard in the league and it’s nice to get back on track against the cream of the league.

“We had a lot of guys contribute, which is what we have to do this season as young as we are. It’s great to see them show what they can do.”

LBSU’s win came on the heels of a pair of close losses, to UC Davis by three and to Cal State Fullerton by four.

The Anteaters got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, missing their first three shots and turning the ball over four times as Long Beach opened a 14-6 lead. UCI scored eight straight to tie the score, and the rest of the half was a back-and-forth, intense physical game with neither team unable to secure a rhythm.

Long Beach led 25-23 at halftime, then scored the first 10 points of the second half, UCI again missing its first three shots and turnovers by Leonard and Edgar leading to fast-break baskets.

UCI drew within four but then committed fouls on four consecutive plays and Long Beach extended its margin back to nine points. A Rutherford basket got UCI within 46-44 with 8:22 left, but Irish hit consecutive short-range jumpers and Slater scored on drives to the basket, the last an off-balance one-handed shot to give Long Beach a 54-46 lead with 3:22 left. Morgan then dunked on a lob from Slater to make it 56-46 with three minutes left.

UP NEXT

UC Irvine hosts Cal Poly on Saturday at 7 p.m. Long Beach plays at UC Riverside on Jan. 30.

Colin Slater with the AND ONE! Beach on top 54-46 as Slater now with 14 and the chance to put the Beach up nine. #GoBeach pic.twitter.com/HhUWCmfnGK

— LBSU Mens Basketball (@LBSUhoops) January 23, 2020

Splash! New career high on this slick move from Trever Irish who now has eight points. Beach up six, just under seven minutes to go. #GoBeach pic.twitter.com/V2NgP5dDtj

— LBSU Mens Basketball (@LBSUhoops) January 23, 2020

Isaiah cuts into the lead!

Catch the game on ESPN3➡https://t.co/NSJIIBck89 pic.twitter.com/TdcxSBiGPa

— UCI Men’s Basketball (@UCImbb) January 23, 2020

Beach on a 10-0 run after this steal and bucket from Colin Slater! The junior leads the Beach with 10 as LBSU on top 35-23 forcing a UCI timeout. #GoBeach pic.twitter.com/xdXHPwxKq4

— LBSU Mens Basketball (@LBSUhoops) January 23, 2020

Hear from Coach Turner following tonight’s game against Long Beach⬇pic.twitter.com/J8fgFWcN1y

— UCI Men’s Basketball (@UCImbb) January 23, 2020

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Former Long Beach State star Troy Tulowitzki announces retirement from baseball

BOSTON — Former Long Beach State standout Troy Tulowitzki, a five-time All-Star with the Colorado Rockies who has missed most of the past two seasons with leg injuries, announced his retirement on Thursday, more than three months after he played in his last game for the New York Yankees.

“For as long as I can remember, my dream was to compete at the highest level as a Major League Baseball player . to wear a big league uniform and play hard for my teammates and the fans,” he said in a statement issued by the Yankees before a series against Boston. “I will forever be grateful for every day that I’ve had to live out my dream. It has been an absolute honor.”

Texas Longhorns head coach David Pierce announced later Thursday that Tulowitzki will join the coaching staff.

“I look forward to continuing my involvement in the game that I love . instructing and helping young players to achieve their goals and dreams,” Tulowitzki wrote in his farewell. “I’m saying goodbye to Major League Baseball, but I will never say goodbye 2 the game I love. Thanks again 2 all of you!”

5-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki retires after a 13-year career. pic.twitter.com/iQpHSFzdka

— MLB (@MLB) July 25, 2019

Tulowitzki was NL Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2007, when he helped the Rockies reach the World Series for the only time in franchise history. He finished in the top 10 of the NL MVP voting three straight years from 2009-11; in all, he received MVP votes in six seasons.

He was traded to Toronto in the middle of 2015 and hit .254 with 24 homers and 79 RBIs the next year, his last full season in the majors. He spent most of 2017 on the disabled list with leg and ankle injuries, and then missed all of last season following surgery on both heels.

The Yankees signed him in the offseason, and he won the shortstop job in spring training while starter Didi Gregorius opened the season on the injured list. But Tulowitzki lasted just five games before going on the IL himself, straining his left calf on April 3.

“Even though injuries cut him short a little bit, it was a great career,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “What I’ll remember is obviously a great player and a guy that played shortstop, a great shortstop, but played it in such a unique way and with a flair. … He looked at home out there playing shortstop.”

Tulowitzki finished with a .290 average, 225 homers and 780 RBIs in 13 seasons with Colorado (2006-15), Toronto (2015-17) and the Yankees. He is one of three shortstops in major league history to with at least 20 home runs and a .290 average in six different seasons; the others are Alex Rodriguez (seven) and Nomar Garciaparra (six).

Troy Tulowitzki announced his retirement today, ending a terrific big league career that included 5 All-Star Game appearances and a pair of Gold Gloves & Silver Slugger Awards.

Hats off to one of the best Dirtbags to ever do it and best of luck with whatever comes next! #LBinMLB pic.twitter.com/lKFUWnTvPM

— LBSU Dirtbags (@LBDirtbags) July 25, 2019

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Cal State Fullerton baseball blanks Long Beach State in series opener

FULLERTON — For the first time in decades, the Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State baseball programs are meeting in a late-season series that has no postseason implications for either side.

That doesn’t mean the longtime Big West Conference rivals lack motivation when it comes to an opportunity to earn bragging rights over each other.

Pitchers Timothy Josten and Kyle Luckham combined on a shutout as the Titans defeated Long Beach 6-0 in their series opener on Thursday night at Goodwin Field.

The Titans, who swept the teams’ annual nonconference series at Blair Field earlier this season, are trying to complete a six-game season sweep for the first time since 2013.

Fullerton (23-25, 9-10 Big West) spent much of the night protecting a 1-0 lead before breaking the game open with a four-run seventh inning, highlighted by Kameron Guangorena’s two-run single.

Josten (3-4) had his best start of the season, as the left-hander held LBSU (11-39, 5-14) to four hits through seven innings while striking out two. Luckham allowed just three hits in the final two innings. It was the Titans’ third shutout of the season.

Zach Lew went 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI to pace Fullerton, which will miss the NCAA postseason for the first time since 1991.

Senior Hank LoForte and Jacob Pavletich kicked off the final home series of their CSF careers with solid nights. LoForte went 3 for 4 with a walk, one run scored and an RBI. Pavletich went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk and a run scored.

Sophomore left-hander Adam Seminaris (3-9) allowing just one unearned run in six innings for LBSU, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out five.

Three LBSU players had multi-hit games: Chris Jimenez and Jacob Hughey both went 2 for 4, while Aidan Malm went 2 for 3 with a walk. Hughey and Malm each had a double.

Long Beach had at least one runner on base in seven of the nine innings and loaded the bases in the sixth with two hits and a walk, but Fullerton shortstop Brett Borgogno caught Chase Luttrell’s sinking line drive to end the threat. Long Beach managed a pair of singles and a walk in the ninth inning but stranded two runners in scoring position to end the game.

The series continues Friday at 8:15 p.m., with right-hander Nick Avila (0-4, 4.50) scheduled to start for LBSU. Fullerton has not named a started for Game 2. The series finale, which will be Senior Day for the Titans, is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.

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